This weekend we got to spend some time with my husband's family, a couple hours away from here. It was so nice to get away for part of the weekend, and we always enjoy seeing his parents and his sister's family. It was a lovely drive down Friday evening, beside Seneca Lake for much of the route, and the sunset was amazing - honey-amber shading up through gold to pale greenish aqua and into turquoise, cloudless and cool. We spent the night and the next morning with my husband's parents, who are a real blessing to us. We had a very good morning, and had lunch with them before going to visit my husband's sister and her husband and two sons for the afternoon and evening.
My lovely SIL and her family just moved into a new home less than two weeks ago. It's a Victorian farmhouse on 1/2 acre, but surrounded by remnants of the old farm (still owned by someone else). You can see the slowly disintegrating barn and work shed beside their property, but in the golden light of a summer afternoon it was picturesque and peaceful. The old fields are full of goldenrod, grapevines, elderberry trees and seedlings, Queen Anne's lace, tall grasses, and assorted trees. The house has been beautifully updated inside, and I'm sure my brother-in-law will tame the overgrown landscaping - he has a good eye for that, and plenty of experience.
Beside their house, on the right front, is an ancient lilac tree. (Shrub? Mass? Colony?) It's big, with a huge ancient trunk deep in the thicket of smaller trunks and sprouts - almost a foot thick, and partially hollow where it was cut off heaven only knows how long ago. You just don't see lilac trunks that big any more! We were speculating that the lilac might be as old as the farmhouse. The original owners' daughter is still alive (she's 89, and was born in the house), and my brother-in-law is going to ask her if she remembers when the lilac was planted. That old tree is a true heirloom, and still blooming every year. I think in the spring I'll ask him if I can have a sprout from it.
It was a weekend of firsts for the kids. Our son got to ride a 4-wheeler with his cousin, which isn't new, but this time his cousin started teaching him how to drive on his own. Our son was quite nervous, but drove for a little while before letting his cousin take the pilot seat again. He did leave a nice skid mark in the grass, from revving too quickly, but no harm done otherwise. He loved riding all over the yard. Ah, the smell of testosterone and exhaust in the evening!
Our daughter is learning how to ride a bike without training wheels, at last. I'm sure she was capable of doing it quite a while ago, but she just wasn't that interested until this summer, when her friends could ride but she couldn't, and she was frustrated. Today, she got going on her own, with help from her father. She's off and rolling, and I'm sure she'll get better every day now. So far, no skinned knees. And yes, she has a helmet - she just wanted to show me she could get going in the grass, so I let her do without.
Autumn is coming - I can feel it in the air now, in the evenings. We had some lovely cool days, and even though today was summer-warm, I can tell that fall will be here very soon. I love the autumn, it's my favorite season. I'm looking forward to the changing leaves (we've already seen a few maples turning early), the clear, cool evenings, the frost on the grass, the harvest activities, and all the beauty of the season. I hope to enjoy long walks, farmstand produce, apple cider, harvest fun, and lots of family time this year.